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I would to thank Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts expressed are my personal opinion.
Description Summary | An amazing story that looks at family expectations and the crippling effects our parents can have on us, heartwarming with plenty of romance but it’s one that will also leave you tearing up.
Book Summary (Goodreads) | (Skip to Review)
A reserved Bangladeshi teenager has twenty-eight days to make the biggest decision of her life after agreeing to fake date her school’s resident bad boy.
How do you make one month last a lifetime?
Karina Ahmed has a plan. Keep her head down, get through high school without a fuss, and follow her parents’ rules—even if it means sacrificing her dreams. When her parents go abroad to Bangladesh for four weeks, Karina expects some peace and quiet. Instead, one simple lie unravels everything.
Karina is my girlfriend.
Tutoring the school’s resident bad boy was already crossing a line. Pretending to date him? Out of the question. But Ace Clyde does everything right—he brings her coffee in the mornings, impresses her friends without trying, and even promises to buy her a dozen books (a week) if she goes along with his fake-dating facade. Though Karina agrees, she can’t help but start counting down the days until her parents come back.
T-minus twenty-eight days until everything returns to normal—but what if Karina no longer wants it to?
I tremendously appreciate how anxiety is represented in this book and how parents’ opinions/expectations can have such a huge impact on teenagers. I have sort of similar parents who’s pressure to expect so much from me crippled me instead so I resonated with so many elements of Karina’s story.
What I really love is that the author straight on describes that Karina’s experience as a Muslim teen is not a universal experience and that this is a singular experience inspired by the author’s own experiences and imagination. This really stops putting all of us Muslims in a single box when they are so many of us and each of us have different ways of seeing our religion and beliefs.
This is true because I do have different views on what’s conservative and what’s not, what’s too much and what’s too little, what’s important and what’s not when it comes to religion but that doesn’t mean that I belittle or falsify the author’s experiences with the same religion. And in turn the author presents the same notion within the book, and that is incredible. For someone so young to have this maturity and realization that people can practice one religion differently really shows you how sensible Bhuiyan is.
I’m not going to lie starting this book I was incredibly worried it’s going to be a cringe fest where our main issue is our MC having a fit over a crop top…
I’m so glad it didn’t.
Bhuiyan weaves a beautiful story with dips and highs all while keeping the reader engaged and rooting for the MC, the plot may present itself as this “rom com fake dating” story but the unraveling begins and the plot thickens and what you end up with is something wholly different than you might have anticipated.
My fav thing about the book is how accurate to me anxiety is depicted here, I feel like so many teens are going to read this and think “oh I think this is anxiety too, I think I need to know for sure”.
The writing includes pages of stunning poetry that I literally tweeted the author telling her if she has a poetry book because it is THAT GOOD. Update: no she doesn’t have one 😦
Karina is so strong despite being overshadowed, second guessed, and battling anxiety. I kept rooting for her throughout the book, and when she cried I cried with her. When she laughed I laughed with her. Bhuiyan did a stunning job of writing up this genuine, realistic character who felt like a real teenager.
ACE. omg. Bhuiyan has just made my standards rise up to an infinite amount because folks I have officially found my perfect boyfriend. If anyone asks for my type I’ll just point to Ace. He’s a whole wheel of cheesiness when it comes to corny pick up lines but his thoughtfulness and willingness to learn more about Karina, her culture, her religion, and her circumstances made me fist pump a couple of times while reading this. I love that he doesn’t force her to do anything and doesn’t offer ridiculous “solutions” like running away or even manipulating her into choosing him over her parents.
Do I recommend? Yes
Date published: May 4 , 2021. (A few days for release day!)